Back in 2019, while cat-sitting for a family in England, I watched a TV special called, “The Double Life of George Michael”. I’m sure those of you who grew up in the 80s remember the band Wham!George and his pal Andrew Ridgeley burst on the pop scene in 1981 with fun hits like “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”. I remember their music was so much fun to dance to when I went out clubbing!

What no one knew was that George was not only a superb musician whose talent didn’t quit, but he was also a relentless marketing machine. He painstakingly crafted his image as a heterosexual heartthrob for millions of teenage girls and was wildly successful at it. Despite the outer glam life he appeared to lead, George became a prisoner of his own fame, hiding his real self beneath the facade he had created.

George’s homosexuality was not made public until almost 10 years later, when his first lover succumbed to the AIDS epidemic, just six months into their relationship.

Living in Self-Betrayal

Born to an English mother and an overbearing and controlling Greek father, George was not able to reveal his secret to his family until tragedy struck. Even later, his loneliness deepened as he felt forced to perform in front of his adoring fans and continue to pretend to be someone he was not.

Deep isolation and essential emptiness drove him to self-medicate with increasing doses of drugs and alcohol. His addictions drove away his second partner who was not able to influence him to stop his self-destructive lifestyle.

Despite winning numerous music awards and having incredible wealth, fame and pretty much anything he wanted, George was a tortured soul throughout most of his life. When he lost his mother (whom he was very close to) quite suddenly to cancer, his downward spiral intensified. He died alone at home at the age of 53, on Christmas Day in 2016 from heart failure and liver disease.

I found George’s story incredibly tragic and it made me wonder how many of us live like George – afraid to be our authentic selves, afraid to show our loved ones and the world who we truly are. Only after his death was it revealed that George donated millions of pounds anonymously to various charities! This was yet another side of this multi-faceted man who very few people truly knew.

Making a Difficult Choice

Speaking from experience I can tell you that living true to yourself is not an easy road. I grew up as a single child with a mother who loved me deeply.  However, she was also domineering and needed to be “right” to feed her own sense of self-worth.

As I grew older and began to assert my individuality, it became clear that I was quite different than her in many ways, and we often clashed. Our frequent disagreements culminated in her refusing to speak to me for four years and influencing my father to do the same.

Nevertheless, despite my profound grief regarding my parents’ rejection, I could not do anything other than live the life I needed to live, on my own terms.

In some ways, this was a test of my commitment to myself. To me, this was a deeply spiritual course of action because it meant that I trusted my own innermost guidance.

Authenticity is one of my top three values, which is why it is even part of my company logo.

And so, while I could have avoided this traumatizing period by giving in to my fears of rejection and abandonment, I would have lost something much more valuable – faith in myself and my own path.

“Honouring your own path in life is the only way to manifest your true essence. You do this by listening deeply to your own wise inner voice, which is quite different than the egotistical and reactive response our programming urges us to follow.”

– Ileana Rontea
Loving Messages from Source

How does it feel to be living authentically?

Most of the time, it feels expansive and solid. I make my decisions from a place of self-knowledge and live with the consequences of my actions. If others choose not to approve or to disagree with my choices, that is NOT my problem, but theirs.

It doesn’t matter who they are, or how much I care for them. I want to be accepted for the loving and real person that I am, not an image I have created so that others don’t disprove of me. This is how I have always preferred to live my life.

Ultimately, my parents’ rejection was a profound lesson for me, forging me into a stronger person. One of the things I learned was that self-betrayal and people-pleasing are very damaging to the deepest part of ourselves.

“People-pleasing is damaging to the soul because it does not allow for free expression of one’s needs and preferences. When you grow into loving yourself, you also learn how to ask for what you need in a way that does not diminish anyone around you.”

– Ileana Rontea
Loving Messages from Source

The Way to an Empowered Existence

I know people who will never be who they truly want to be, for fear of harming their parents by their beliefs, or for worry that their families, friends, and/or peers will abandon them.

Perhaps this thinking needs to be revisited. Perhaps it’s time to live life on YOUR terms. Perhaps this is the lesson we all come here to learn – how to grow into who we are meant to be.

Maybe, just maybe it’s the only way we can be forged into a stronger and more powerful version of ourselves. Making decisions from fear of rejection (or fear of anything for that matter), will not yield the most positive results in life.

Truly it always comes down to Love or Fear – those are the two basic emotions that drive humanity. When you do ANYTHING out of fear, you become constricted and you “shrink”. You feel diminished and somehow trapped, even if you believe you are making certain decisions because you love your parents for example, and don’t want to displease them.

“Facing our fears takes courage and determination. And yet, once we do so, we find that the greatest fears live in our own minds and imagination.”

– Ileana Rontea
Loving Messages from Source

We need to remember that many parents seek to mould their children in particular ways, whether it’s so they can live vicariously through their children, or because they want their children to have a safe profession, a safe life, a safe future. Most people want to please their parents, even when they are adults themselves.

They want their parents to be proud of their choices and successes. And yet, sometimes it is important to choose between what WE want and not what others want for us.

How Are You Living YOUR Life?

What gifts and talents are YOU hiding from the world for fear of judgment, repercussion, and rejection? What is your soul calling you to do so that you can be your authentic self?

If you are indeed not being fully authentic in your life, the other question that begs to be asked is this: How will you feel on your deathbed, knowing you have lived a life that was not serving you to be your most real and genuine?

What kind of regrets will you have when it’s too late?

It is only then that you will be able to manifest your true gifts and destiny – when you allow yourself to live fully and authentically every day. Even if you will encounter opposition, you will eventually find your tribe and you will thrive.

“Dare to walk a different path! Dare to listen to your inner guidance! Dare to be your authentic heart-based Self by shining your Light brightly like a beacon of hope in the world!”

– Ileana Rontea
Loving Messages from Source

Life is not meant to be endured, hiding our inner selves, our beliefs, and our gifts. Life is meant to be lived to the fullest and YOU are meant to thrive and shine your light!

I wonder how George Michael’s life would have turned out if he had been his authentic and real self?